Whats Happening ?

Another brick (stone!) in the wall.

The change from cold, wet weather to hot and sunny allows Trevor and Adrian to return to re-building the wharf wall.  Building progresses well but the mortar is setting so quickly that water has to be constantly added to keep it workable.

The bees keep at it!

A change in the weather has brought more activity to the Sea Lock Site again today.  Neither Trevor nor Adrian are available but Barry has arrived with Carol and between them they set about fixing in place the last two boards to the port and starboard sides of the butty boat.  They then begin fitting elbows to one end.  In the meantime John and Wesley mark out sections to be cut out of the rusty floor from the paddle boat.  John uses the large angle grinder to remove the first section.  It’s a heavy beast to hold-up whist cutting vertically down.  Sheets of new metal have already been delivered but it will a while before a new floor can be welded on.  Bob continues clearing mud from the wharf basin and water is running fast and smoothly through it cutting a nice deep channel.

Cutting holes for wheels.

Barry, Trevor and Adrian spend quite a lot of time leveling and  squaring the chines for the lead boat.  The bow section has already been cut roughly to shape and Barry sets about accurately measuring and marking  out the dimensions of the boat and the positions where mortises have to be cut for the accommodation of the wheels.  He then uses his chain saw to rough-cut the holes and then a broad, wood chisel to clean the holes to the required shape and size.

In the meantime Trevor and Adrian jack-up the paddle boat so that work on replacing the rusted out floor can be undertaken more easily and comfortably.  The 3mm thick sheet steel which will be used to replace the rotten floor was only ordered this morning but delivery has been promised for Friday!

Today has been another miserably wet day.  Fortunately, being able to work under the shelter of the new ‘boat house’ roof has not hindered progress at all and the two boat projects are moving forwards very satisfactorily.

Like ‘Busy Bees!’

Despite the weather still being wet and unseasonable there is much activity at Sea Lock today.  Trevor arrives, later  followed by Barry and Carol who work together on fitting the butty tub-boat’s knees and elbows. This requires a lot of  fine-sawing, planing as well as ‘fiddling’ about.  Working out in the open exposed to frequent, heavy, rain showers makes  for slow progress and it is further hampered by the wharf-side surface becoming more and more muddy, and slippery.

Bob and Wesley have arrived as well.  Wesley and Trevor start to dismantle the paddle mechanism from the reed-cutting boat.  It has been decided that the sensible approach is to remove the whole of the rusted out floor and replace it with new steel.  Having the boat turned up-side-down will facilitate this repair considerably.  However keeping the heavy paddle-end still attached to the hull will make life very difficult so temporarily removing it should help.

Bob retires to the mud!  Getting down into the mouth of the lock chamber he continues clearing channels to enable the force of the flowing water to erode the deposited silt.  He works around the outer wing wall where there has been a significant collapse of masonry.  Adrian, hanging off a ladder, works nearby scraping the joints out between stones, and removing weeds and silt which has  built up on the damaged wall.  He hopes to start repairing this section of wall soon.

By the end  of the day considerable progress has been made on several fronts even though the rain was doing its best to stop play!


Volunteer Day – Life’s Journey Project

Trevor, Steve and Adrian join a group of other volunteers to begin the task of creating a permissive footpath along a section of Lord Rolle’s Canal belonging to Clinton Devon Estates.  (Lord Clinton is a descendant of the Rolle family).

The Rolle Canal & Northern Devon Waterways Society is a beneficiary of a grant from Heritage Lottery Funding organised by the North Devon Area of Outstanding Beauty & Biosphere to promote the Tarka Trail and its historic roots.  This project  is called ‘Life’s Journey’.

This Volunteer Day is the first of a series of committed  days in which volunteers will work on making accessible  features of Lord Rolle’s Canal along the course of the Tarka Trail.

This section of canal, which exhibits some wonderful examples of stone embankment and canal engineering along a very steep-sided river course, has already had fallen trees sawn into manageable lengths and those creating obstructions or potential hazards felled,  requires man-power to clear the towpath and make it a safe (relatively speaking!) footpath for the public to enjoy.